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What Happens When Your Dream Comes True?!

June 22, 2014

The idea of a Bucket list has never really appealed to me. It seems like making a list of things to do before you die is so definitive and constricting. What happens if you die without completing it? What happens if you complete it and still don’t feel finished? What happens if you grow up a little and realize that skydiving isn’t actually a real thing you want to spend your money on? The whole things just seems negative, like a weird competition that you can never win. And isn’t completing a list something we should always be actively working towards? If I write down that I… want to go to Africa, then shouldn’t I start saving up money now and looking at plane tickets and talking to people and working to make it happen? Lists are things worth striving for, and promising yourself that you’ll do things is just too much.

All that being said, tomorrow I’m about to complete something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. On Monday morning I catch a flight back to the USA from Dublin, my last stop on a 5 month tour of Europe, and the end of a lifelong dream will come true.

This trip has been crazy, filled with ups and downs, friends and strangers, cities and landscapes, and it’s completely surreal to think that in a little over 24 hours I’ll be done. I don’t know quite how to process it, because, really, what happens after a dream comes true?

And it wasn’t really just one dream that came true either. I got to do tons of things I’ve hoped to do my entire life. I got to travel alone, visit Stonehenge, watch a show at the Globe, go to Denmark, cheer a friend’s ski race in the World Cup, see a band I love play to a crowd that doesn’t speak English. And while I don’t really feel like I’ve checked these things on my list, I do feel like I’ve added them. I want to do them again, do them in different ways, do things that make me feel as good as they did. Doesn’t it make more sense to add things to a list of happiness than to cross things off of a list of death?!

But the argument for making goals and working to make them happen must still be worth something, even if the idea of a bucket list is problematic. On an overnight train a few months ago I met a woman who was on her way home from a Dixie Chicks concert that she’d saved and planned for since 2001. As we talked she explained that she’d left her child and husband at home for the weekend and purposely chose to see this concert alone, so she could better live in the moment without worrying whether her friend or husband was enjoying it as much a she was. By going to see her favorite band play she’d completed a tiny goal she’d had for a while, and it was moving to listen to her tell me that life is about little moments like that, where you find something worthwhile and make it happen. She said she was excited to think of a new one now, that having something to work towards makes the rest of life so much more beautiful.

I have no plan or idea what comes next in my life. I’ll arrive in the states tomorrow and move back in with my parents, jobless and exhausted. But I’ll have completed a life long dream, and really for all the plans and goals and lists, all that matters is how I feel right now. And you know what, I feel happy.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 22, 2014 11:05 pm

    It’s a nice problem to have when you are wondering what to do after achieving a dream. 🙂 I guess you just bask in the happiness of it, scrapbook and blog about it, and, yes, add to your list with some new ideas!

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